It used to be a lot of work to get music in every room of your house or even to play music easily outside. If you wanted the best multiroom audio system, you had to have lots of holes cut into your walls, wires run and a complicated music distribution system installed. When Sonos wireless speakers came along, people started realizing how quickly they could build a DIY multiroom audio system.
Wireless speakers make it easy to set up a home audio system, especially if you rely on streaming music services for your listening enjoyment. While some wireless music systems can be expensive, there are options for just about every budget. In fact, if you’re more focused on wireless than multiroom, Bluetooth speakers are a more affordable choice than networked or Wifi speakers.
Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite wireless speakers to fit different budgets:
Sonos Play 1
The Sonos Play 1 is an easy choice if you like the idea of wireless music and you think you may want to add multiple rooms to the system. To turn one Sonos speaker into a whole house system, just add more Sonos speakers. The Play 1 can work by itself, or you can configure two of them to work together as a stereo pair. You can even combine them with the Sonos Playbar soundbar to create a wireless home theater system. Sonos speakers communicate via their own Wifi network, and you control the music with an Android or Apple iOS app. The app gives you access to tons of music services or music located on your home network. The Sonos Play 1 is the company’s small wireless speaker, and has a smaller price at $199.
Samsung Shape M7
Samsung’s Shape M7 is similar to the Sonos Play 5 speaker in that it contains five powerful drivers to fill a whole room with audio. Also like the Sonos system, Shape works with Wifi—in fact all Shape speakers connect to your home WiFi network instead of their own separate network. One thing that sets the Samsung Shape apart from Sonos is that Shape speakers also include Bluetooth built in, so you can stream music from your network or wirelessly connect your phone directly to the speaker. The shape of the M7 allows it to sit flat or upright, and you can use it in a pair for stereo speakers. The app includes streaming services like Pandora, TuneIn, Amazon Cloud Player and Rhapsody, but not nearly as many as you get with Sonos.
The M7 was $499 but Samsung is offering a Holiday special now for $229.
Denon Heos 3
The Heos 3 is the smallest speaker in Denon’s new Heos wireless speaker system (there’s also a Heos 7 and Heos 5). Denon says the 3 is good for medium-sized rooms like bedrooms, offices or kitchens. It can play internet streaming music services (including Spotify, Rhapsody and Pandora) from the Heos app or connect to your NAS or a USB drive. The Heos 3 has two full-range drivers and a two-channel class D amplifier with Denon digital signal processing. It connects to your home’s WiFi network via a dual-band radio. $299
JBL Charge 2
If your needs are simpler, or you budget a little smaller, we recommend the JBL wireless speaker Charge 2. The Charge 2 is a portable wireless Bluetooth speaker that works in your home or outside (with 12 hours of battery life). It includes dual drivers and twin passive radiators for powerful bass in a small system. With Bluetooth built-in, it works with any smartphone and any music service app, so it’s great if friends come over and want to share their music. The Charge 2 isn’t for multiroom systems, but it’s small enough that you can take it with you from room to room. One of the best parts—the JBL Charge 2 is only $150.